Category Archives: Tri Track Open Modified Series

RYAN PREECE TO COMPETE WITH TRI TRACK OPEN MODIFIED SERIES AT STAR SPEEDWAY

NASCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER SET FOR ANNUAL SBM 121 

By Kyle Souza

SEEKONK, Mass. — Ryan Preece, who drives for JTG Daughtery Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, is making a return to his Modified roots this weekend. The Connecticut native, who has since moved down south chasing his dream of racing at the Cup level, is set to compete with the Tri Track Open Modified Series at Star Speedway on Saturday, July 25. 

Preece is a former competitor with the series, a former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, and multiple-time winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His best career finish with JTG is a third-place effort at Talladega. He has 59 career starts in NASCAR’s top level. 

But he’s coming back to his roots to compete for his modified fans. 

“This was a good opportunity to hit the reset button,” Preece said. “Obviously there has been a lot of misfortune and a lot of things in 2020 that have been out of everyone’s control. This will be a good way to go somewhere, and race, and hit the reset button and get some moment built for us with the Cup car.” 

Preece, who has run the SBM at Star before, is no stranger to the tight, banked corners of the Epping, New Hampshire oval, and is looking forward to returning to compete with a field full of talent for TS Haulers, and Eddie and Connie Partridge.

“I remember the first SBM race,” Preece said. “I enjoy racing at Star. It’s something I’m looking forward to doing — I think it’s going to be exciting… the fans will want to see it.” 

Bobby Webber, the owner and operator of Star Speedway, was excited to find out Preece would be attending the annual SBM.  

“Ryan Preece being at the SBM 121 is huge for us,” Webber said. “I’ve always gotten along well with Ryan and his Dad. They were one of the original supporters of Kevin Rice and the SBM format. To have an off weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series, and have Ryan come support my family, Star Speedway and the Tri Track Open Modified Series, it means a lot to all of us.” 

This year’s SBM race is 121 laps instead of 125 – in honor of Tim Webber – the son of track promoter Bobby Webber, who is turning 21 during the month of July. 

Preece isn’t the only major name chasing the check on Saturday. Names like season-opening Monadnock winner Craig Lutz, defending series champion Ronnie Williams, former champion Matt Hirschman, veteran Les Hinckley and defending SBM winner Ron Silk are just a few of the top contenders expected. Names like Anthony Nocella, Tommy Barrett and Woody Pitkat have also entered. A full list of competitors who have pre-ordered tires will be released later in the week. 

“We look forward to adding Ryan to a stout list of drivers set for Star Speedway this weekend,” Wayne Darling, Managing Partner of the Tri Track Open Modified Series, said. “Ryan has quite the track record of success in Modifieds and we are sure he will be a major threat for the $6,000 check on Saturday night.” 

Due to restrictions from COVID-19 and the state of New Hampshire, Star Speedway is limited to 50% grandstand capacity for the race. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets ahead through Venmo (@bwebber19) to make sure they get their seat. There will be no pre-sales for pit passes.  

Tri Track teams who have registered for the entire season are good to go, while teams who need to register for just one event can do it on the website. Teams must also pre-order tires with Dan at Hoosier Tire East by calling 860-646-9646 as soon as possible. 

Tri Track Open Modified Series teams can practice on Friday from 4-8 p.m. and can sign-up by contacting the track directly, since spots are limited. On Saturday morning, the pit area opens for Tri Track teams at 10:45 a.m., while the first practice will go green from 1:15-1:55 p.m. There will be a second practice from 2:15-2:40 p.m., and a scuff session will take place from 3:05-3:15 p.m. Heat races begin for Star divisions at 3:30 p.m., followed by qualifying for the Tri Track Series. The feature is estimated to take the green flag around 7 p.m.

For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit tritrackmodifieds.com and follow the series on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

Craig Lutz Pushes To Monadnock Win in Series Debut

Photo: Tom Morris/Myracenews

Two months delayed due to COVID-19, the Tri Track Open Modified Series finally opened the 2020 season on Sunday evening at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire. There were 37 of the top Modified drivers in the Northeast at the high-banked oval, with four heat races, two consolations, and a 100-lap feature keeping fans busy throughout the day. Monadnock’s NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series divisions were also on the track, along with the Pro Truck Series. 

The Tri Track Rundown is a quick look back at the most recent series event: 

LUTZ PUSHES HINCKLEY INTO THREE, WINS DRAG RACE TO THE LINE 

Not bad for a debut. Craig Lutz, a rising Modified star in New England, entered the final corner of Sunday’s Tri Track Open Modified Series opener in second, a car length back from race leader Les Hinckley. By the time they hit the middle of turn four, Lutz was under Hinckley and winning a drag race to the line, pocketing a $6,000 check as part of a more than $40,000 purse. But the way he made the move was what set off some major controversy post-race. 

Lutz slammed the back bumper of Hinckley at the bottom of turn three, sending Hinckley up the track, and Lutz by to the win. In the debut start on a competitive series, Lutz was holding the checkered flag at Monadnock. 

“It’s Modified racing,” said Lutz. “You have to understand that I’m going for the win, he’s going for the win. He’s hanging on for dear life. I gave him a little tap that he wasn’t expecting and I was able to open up the bottom. We both finished… he still finished second.” 

The day didn’t start off well for Lutz. After a blind draw, he started last in the second heat race, and finished sixth, missing a qualified spot by one. When he rolled out for the consi, he started at the front, and picked up the win – advancing him to the main event, with a 22nd place starting spot. 

It took him 99 laps to find the lead. 

“A little bit of both, you come in here and you think the setup is going to work and it just didn’t,” Lutz said of what happened in the heat, with a bad draw and the setup off. “We drew last for the heat race, and the whole field is stacked because there are so many good cars. We had to be patient with a small track and not a long of room to make passes. I just tried to pass everyone smart and keep the wheels on it so I could be at the front.” 

Lutz, who drove a family-owned car with help for Russell Goodale and Goodie Motorsports, plans to be back with Tri Track on July 25 at Star Speedway for the annual SBM showdown. 

HINCKLEY NEARLY BREAKS WINNING DROUGHT 

Les Hinckley was one corner away from his first career Tri Track Open Modified Series win. But it all went away in the final 500 feet. After the push from behind, Hinckley lost control, and nearly saved it enough to beat Lutz to the line. But it was the final drag race that hurt his chances, while he was still trying to collect the car. 

Hinckley started at the bottom of the top five, led laps, and was in contention in the final corner.  

“We found a home in the first two-thirds of the race to ride and keep our spot,” Hinckley said. “I just tried to take care of the car. After the competition caution, we made the right adjustments and to the front we went. They weren’t going to catch me without the cautions. He tried to drive through me on the restart but drove over the left-rear and bottomed out the car. I would have been a fool if I gave up the bottom, and he had no chance of going around me on the outside. He never tried. If you could pull up record books, I’ve never driven through anyone like that for a win. I never squared a guy up, punted him in the back, moved him up two grooves and felt good about myself. That was his only shot.” 

After the checkered, Hinckley showed his displeasure with Lutz, driving up beside him coming to the start/finish line for Victory Lane ceremonies. He was also visibly and verbally upset with Lutz. 

“Craig wasn’t faster than I was. He didn’t have a shot to pass me,” Hinckley said. “He didn’t have any turns left to get it done. That was his move. Not lift, drive in the corner, and use me for the brake.” 

Hinckley will have his next shot to earn his first career Tri Track win at Star Speedway on July 25, another track he is familiar with. Hinckley had plenty of background experience at Monadnock, both in Modifieds and Pro Stocks. 

Notebook: Monadnock Regulars Impress; Some Tri Track Stars Were Quiet 

  • -Ben Byrne, who won the NHSTRA Sportsman Modified race at Monadnock on Sunday, a drove a crate motor in the Tri Track Series race and pulled off a third-place finish, leading laps in the middle stages. Byrne also showed success at Monadnock last year, where he nearly won the Tri Track race. For his third-place effort, the team collected a $300 bonus courtesy of Barlow Construction for being the highest finishing crate motor in the field. 
  • -Matt Kimball, who was fastest in practice, struggled in his heat, missing a qualified spot. He rebounded in the consi and drove through the field late to finish fourth.  
  • -Ron Silk and Chase Dowling finished fourth and fifth — strong runs to open the season for the veterans. Dowling was looking for his third straight Tri Track win driving for Jimmy Paige, dating back to last year. He was on the bumper of Hinckley with 10 laps to go, but got shuffled on the outside lane on a restart and missed his opportunity. 
  • -Matt Hirschman, Woody Pitkat and Ronnie Williams all finished at the bottom of the top-10, but all three seemed off on the setup all day. Williams earned the final qualifying spot in heat one, while Hirschman did the same in heat four. Pitkat struggled in both the heat and the consi and didn’t qualify. He earned a provisional, and started deep in the field — driving through for an eighth-place finish. Courtesy of Green Construction, Pitkat earned the Hard Charger award worth $500. 

The Tri Track Open Modified Series, along with the $40,000 purse/6,000 winning prize, also paid out a long list of contingency awards through sponsorship from supporters of the series.  

Superior Refinishing was also providing a $200 award if the polesitter had won the race. However, since Tommy Barrett didn’t take the checkered flag first, the $200 rolls over to the next stop at Star Speedway and raises another $200. If the driver who starts on the pole wins at Star, they will collect $400 in bonus money on top of their winnings. 

CONTINGENCY AWARDS: MONADNOCK SPEEDWAY; JULY 5, 2020: 

  • -Green Construction Hard Charger: $500 – Woody Pitkat 
  • -Pepsi Challenge Heat Winners: $300 each – Brian Robie, Chase Dowling, Ben Bryne, Dave Sapienza 
  • -Pepsi Challenge Consi Winners: $300 each – Matt Swanson, Craig Lutz 
  • -Barlow Construction Top Crate Motors: $300 (Ben Byrne) & $200 (Brian Robie) 

Tri Track Open Modified Season To BEGIN Sunday at Monadnock

LARGE FIELD FULL OF VARIETY SET FOR HIGH BANKS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE 

BY KYLE SOUZA  PHOTO NOAH WATTS/MYRACENEWS

SEEKONK, Mass. — Two months delayed due to COVID-19, the Tri Track Open Modified Series season hits full speed Sunday at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire. Celebrating Independence Day weekend, Tri Track will headline a full day of racing at the high-banked oval with a 100-lap feature. More than 30 drivers have already placed their order for tires and are set to compete with a field full of the top stars in Modified racing. 

Due to COVID, and per guidance from the state of New Hampshire, Monadnock Speedway will run at 50% capacity for the event in the grandstands. Teams are restricted to just 10 crew members per team and all social distancing and safe health practices will be in place to keep teams, drivers, staff and fans safe. Race fans who can’t make it to the track can purchase the race live on Speed51.com for $24.95. Speed51 will air the entirety of Tri Track qualifying and feature racing, along with the Pro Truck Series. 

The purse for Monadnock rises over $40,000 in total prizes, with $6,000 up for grabs to the winner. Heat and consi races will each pay $300 to win courtesy of Pepsi, with the brand-new Pepsi challenge. A contingency program with select additional awards is also up for grabs. None of the purse has changed since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Following Monadnock, the remainder of the schedule remains in place – with stops at Star Speedway (July 25), Monadnock (August 15) and Seekonk Speedway (August 26 & October 24) still in plans. 

“Getting the 2020 season off the ground is something we are excited about,” Wayne Darling, Managing Partner of the Tri Track Open Modified Series, said. “We have a stout field of cars set to compete on Sunday and we thank Monadnock for working with us to reschedule our event to Sunday and give everyone the best chance to see some great Modified racing.” 

Former Tri Track champions Ronnie Williams (defending champion) and Matt Hirschman top the list of favorites to compete for the checkered flag on Sunday. Modified stars Chase Dowling, Matt Swanson, Woody Pitkat, Blake Barney, Craig Lutz, Ron Silk and Anthony Nocella are also expected to run for the win. Tri Track veterans Les Hinckley, Richard Savary, Tommy Barrett and Kirk Alexander are also heading to New Hampshire. 

The field includes a mix of Tri Track stars, along with regulars from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Race of Champions Tour and Modified Racing Series, along with Monadnock Speedway Sportsman Modified division regulars. Brian Robie, current Monadnock weekly points leader, along with Matt Kimball and Ben Byrne have filed entries to compete with Tri Track. Rising Modified stars Joey Cipriano, Calvin Carroll, Derek Robbie, Jacob Perry, Ryan Doucette, Dana DiMatteo, and more, are also expected. 

The race will not be one fans want to miss.  

There will be no drivers meeting Sunday to avoid creating a large gathering, and race teams have been provided race notes and procedures to follow ahead of entry to the track. The Pro Trucks, Late Model Sportsman, Mini Stocks and Street Stocks will also be in action during the day. Practice begins at 12 p.m., with one session rolling until 12:45 p.m., followed by rotating sessions for the other divisions. Heat races will start at 2 p.m., with feature racing to follow. Tri Track’s feature is the final of the night and estimated to take the green flag at 7 p.m.  

For more information on Speed51, visit Speed51.com and follow them on social media. For more information on Monadnock Speedway, visit them at monadnockspeedway.com and follow them on social media. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit tritrackmodifieds.com and follow the series on Facebook, Twitter (@TriTrackNE) and Instagram.